Okay, this is a topic I’ve been meaning to get to for a while. In some ways what I want to talk about is as much how news is framed as it is what the news is.
Not long ago there was a whole spate of stories with headlines like “For Women Under 30, Most Birth Occur Outside of Marriage.” That particular article (which is from the NY Times) begins this way:
“It used to be called illegitimacy. Now it is the new normal. After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage.” Continue reading
In the last week’s I’ve put up two posts about the ends of the spectrum of approaches to use of third-party gametes. It’s time to think about the middle ground.
First a recap: At one end of the spectrum of approaches would be a place where you essentially barred the use of third-party gametes. (You’d do that by having the law recognize the gamete provider as a legal parent, which would effectively mean there could be no third-party provider. You probably ought to go read the post to see what I mean here.) At the other end you might have something akin to what you would find now in a number of states–fairly unrestricted use of third-party gametes as people see fit. The question really is what might be in the middle.
To be clear, you do not have to seek middle ground here. I’m sure some people are satisfied with what exists today and some would be satisfied to have no use of third-party gametes at all. Continue reading
There’s been a lot of discussion of the Baby Emma case, spurred by a recent decision of the Utah Supreme Court. It’s gratifying to have such lively discussion going on, but it can also be confusing to have so many topics at issue at once. I wanted to use this post to separate out a discussion of the choices Utah has made with regard to its adoption law.
One thing this does is take us away from the facts of the specific case involving Baby Emma. That’s one set of facts, but if you were sitting in the legislature in Utah, thinking about what the law should be, you’d probably also consider other possible scenarios. And you’d think more broadly in terms of general policies–facilitating the adoption of children is one, protecting the rights of biologically related parents is another. You might have to think about which one was more important and why, and then maybe you’d figure out what sort of legal structure would strike the right balance between whatever things you decided to consider. Continue reading
This is a short post spurred by the coincidence of two articles that crossed my path the same day. Each discusses how a government uses public policy shapes choices in an effort to encourage certain sorts of behavior around the parent/child questions.
One article is from Israel and it describes a “pronatalist” policy. The other is from the UK and describes (inconsistent) efforts around encouraging participation of unmarried men as fathers. Continue reading
Today is Father’s Day. (In some houses that would be “Fathers’ Day.) Perhaps it is a sort of ironic nod to the holiday that the New York Times has this story of an unconventional two-household modern family consisting of mom, sperm donor, sperm donor’s domestic partner and child. (The story is identified as being the first of an occasional series. It is also accompanied by several graphic presentations (which don’t really work on my computer) interpreting census data on family forms.)
Carol Einhorn is, no matter how you figure it, the mother. Griffin (who I assume has his mother’s last name) is almost three years old. Continue reading
I missed this report from the Pew Center when it was issued, but this morning this media follow-up caught my eye. For me the take away here is that two parent families–and specifically gay and lesbian couple families–are far more socially accepted than single mother families. (They didn’t ask about single parent families, only single mother families.)
The study surveyed people about various non-traditional family forms. In presenting the results, the authors clustered respondents into three groups: Accepters (who generally accept the non-traditional forms and make up 31% of respondents), Rejecters (who reject non-traditional forms and make up 32%), and Skeptics Continue reading
There’s a new article in Newsweek that marks another major media chapter in the discussion of donor conceived children. Can it be any surprise that the article disappoints me in that it provides what is finally too superficial a view of a complicated and nuanced issue?
There’s been a great deal written here, in both posts and comments, about donor conceived children and of course there are many other places on the web about which you could say the same. What’s frustrating, then, is that the Newsweek story misses so much complexity.
For instance, there are different family configurations in which third-party sperm is used. As I see it, there are three main categories of users: single women, lesbian couples and heterosexual couples. Continue reading
This story in the paper caught my eye this AM. It’s generated by an analysis of 2008 census data. The key finding is that 28% of the unmarried women who give birth are living with a partner.
This suggests that at least some–and perhaps many–of those women are not single parents, even though they are unmarried women who gave birth. I realize that not every partner is a co-parent. But surely some partners are co-parents. What I mean by that is that at least in some instances the partners function as a second parent to the child. Which leads me to conclude that all those unmarried mothers are what we think of as single mothers. Indeed, the article notes that over time those two categories– “unmarried mother” and “single mother”–have often been conflated. That blurring doesn’t really enhance our understanding of what’s going on in the real world.
There are several different things to think about here. Some of the unmarried mother couples are lesbian couples. Unless they lived in a small number of states where marriage between two people of the same sex is permitted, those couples couldn’t be married now matter how much they might wish to be. Additionally, unmarried couples, lesbian or otherwise, may have formally secured the rights of the partner Continue reading
There’s been much discussion here about an array of topics related to use of third-party sperm and whether children conceived with third-party sperm ought to have access to identifying information about the donor. This sprang from a couple of comments on the case brought by Olivia Pratten in British Columbia. (The judge took the case under advisement today. I’ll try to keep watch for the decision, but there’s no definite date for that.) In all the conversation here, I feel like a distinction that is important to me may have gotten lost, so at the risk of boring people, I’m going to repeat myself and expand a little.
In the last post about the case, I observed that Olivia Pratten was raising a narrow claim. (This is a point which I think Bill Cordray also made in his comments.) The right she claims is that of the donor conceived to know the identity of the man who provided the sperm used to conceive them and perhaps the right to contact him. As I understand it, she does not object to the use of donor sperm generally. If all donors were open identity donors, if all records were retained, she would be satisfied. Continue reading
I wanted to go back to the case being litigated by Olivia Pratten in British Columbia. You can find a couple of earlier posts here and here. I used the case as a jumping off point for a discussion about sameness/difference with regard to adoption/use of third-party gametes. That’s been quite lively.
My original thought was to try to keep the two threads separate–the first could be general, the second more narrow and specific. That isn’t exactly how it developed, however, and so there’s a substantial discussion about matters relevant to Pratten case in the other thread. (I’m thinking here about some of the specifics of BC adoption law.)
Nonetheless, I wanted to return with another post focussed on the case itself. There was some press coverage during the last week that helps flesh out the issues being tried.
As I understand it, Pratten has two main arguments. Continue reading